#VeganRamadan: Quick fruity recipes for a healthy post-iftar dessert
It's a spiritual exercise that also means Muslims are likely to crave anything that comes under the sun. A mediocre meal that was eaten once on holiday five years ago becomes a longing elixir of flavour.
Other times people crave unhealthy desserts leaving them battling between their mind and body – especially if they are attempting a healthy Ramadan.
In the case of desserts, the trick isn't to fight the craving, but replace it with something fresher, and healthier, yet equally delicious.
This is where sweet allies of the plant world come into play. By incorporating fruit into post-iftar dessert, you can expect an increase in energy, nutrition and hydration.
The three following recipes can be done with any fruit, so even if there is only one type of fruit available to you, there are at least three different ways you can make them.
These recipes are also amazing for a light and nutritious suhoor. Each recipe has a non-fruity addition, making them perfect for small meals. And they're all vegan!
|In the case of desserts, the trick isn't to fight the craving, but replace it with something fresher, and healthier, yet equally delicious|
|Vegan plant protein fruity smoothie bowl [Diana Alghoul/ig @flowerknafeh]|
Plant protein fruity smoothie bowl:
When in doubt, freeze it out. Smoothie bowls are amazing when ice cream cravings kick in. They're one of the best ways to make sure no fruit goes to waste because just as fruit will expire, you can just freeze them. This recipe will be using frozen berries, but you can substitute with any fruit.
A handful of frozen berries
One banana (preferably frozen)
Half a cup of plant milk
One tablespoon of flax seeds
One teaspoon of hemp seeds
Half a scoop of protein powder for extra protein
Blend all of the ingredients, minus the toppings in a high speed blender and add more water or milk as desired to get to the ideal thickness.
Transfer to a bowl and add toppings.
With creativity, it's easy to mimic traditional sweet flavours. Frozen bananas blended with maca powder and vegan yoghurt dates will make an amazing banoffee ice cream-like bowl.
For a more exotic flavour, using coconut cream instead of plant milk and yoghurt will work beautifully with frozen melons and mangoes.
|Vegan french toast [Diana Alghoul/ig: @flowerknafeh]|
Fruity vegan wholemeal French toast
Anything a meat eater can do, a vegan can do better and this recipe proves it. For those who have never liked French toast because of the eggy aftertaste, making the vegan version ensures a beautiful dessert, breakfast and brunch item that actually tastes as good as it looks. Sorry, egg lovers.
Chia seeds are the star of this recipe because once mixed with the plant milk, it will create a dip that feels exactly like eggs. A word of caution is to make sure the chia seeds are ground, because whole chia seeds will look visible on the toast once it's cooked and it won't absorb into the milk as fast to create the dip.
You can buy ready-made ground chia seeds or dash whole chia seeds into a blender or a coffee grinder.
For non-egg eaters who do like the taste of eggs, seasoning food with black salt will help to mimic the sulfuric taste in vegan alternatives. This has not been (nor will it ever be) personally tested, but many egg-loving vegans say it has helped satisfy their cravings.
Ingredients (two servings):
One tablespoon of ground chia seeds
One and a half cups of plant milk
Ten drops of vanilla extract
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder
Sweetener of choice (I prefer to drizzle maple syrup over my toast so I skip any sweeteners during this stage)
Eight thick cut sliced bread (I used wholemeal sourdough)
Chopped fruit of choice (I used raspberries and bananas)
Vegan butter or coconut oil to grease the pan
Mix all of the ingredients of the chia egg in a bowl. Cover and leave to set in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
Once the mixture has thickened, prepare the pan by heating it to medium heat and greasing it with a generous amount of butter or oil.
Dip the bread into the mixture for around 30 seconds and make sure it's covered on all sides and immediately transfer into a skillet.
On medium heat, let it cook for around 4 minutes on each side or until it goldens.
Serve with chopped fruit or make a healthy chia jam with leftover fruit.
Top up the skillet with butter or oil as needed.
Chia jam option (15 minutes):
The ratio should always be one tablespoon of chia seeds (can be ground or whole depending on texture preference) per cup of fruit.
On low heat, cook fruit in a pan and add a tablespoon of water or lemon juice until they begin to break down and soften enough to be crushed.
Gradually add the chia seeds and keep mixing and crushing with a spoon or a potato masher for 10 minutes.
If you want, add a few drops of vanilla extract or flower essences just before adding the chia seeds to sweeten. Natural sugar works too.
The chia seeds replace the sugar, which is traditionally used to create the thick, jammy texture.
|Vegan yoghurt bowl [Diana Alghoul/ig: @flowerknafeh]|
Fruity vegan yoghurt bowl
By far, the easiest recipe because all it requires is assembly. There are many types of plant yoghurt in the market, but the most common is soy yoghurt.
If this is being had for suhoor, it's best to layer the fruit by putting dense fruit like bananas at the bottom, adding the yoghurt and more fruit and seeds to top for something more filling.
I used a blueberry flavoured yoghurt, but you can also blend fruit or make chia jam and mix it into the yoghurt to switch it up.
Ingredients (one serving):
Three tablespoons of vegan yoghurt
Handful of fruit of choice (I used blueberries)
Mixed seeds and nuts
A sprinkle of cinnamon powder or cacao powder
Assemble whichever way you like and enjoy.
Diana Alghoul is a staff journalist at The New Arab and a spiritual lifestyle blogger.
Follow her on Twitter: @SuperKnafeh and Instagram: @flowerknafeh for more healthy recipes